By Maria Lopez Conde, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Stories of families increasing their ranks by adopting children from distant lands could soon become commonplace in Brazil. On Monday the National Council of Justice (CNJ) moved to approve a change in the country’s National Adoption Registry (CNA) that facilitates the adoption of Brazilian children by foreign would-be parents.

Brazil Eases Child Adoption for Foreigners, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Babies awaiting adoption in the Lar da Criança Padre Cícero – which houses twenty children and teens – in Brasília in 2012, photo by Marcello Casal Jr/ABr.

The resolution, which will go into effect once it is published in the country’s Official Gazette, allows foreigners interested in adopting children in Brazil to follow the same rules and process as Brazilian citizens. In the past, citizens from other countries could only become the parents of Brazilian children after they failing to get adopted by Brazilian parents registered in the country’s database system.

The new rule also allows all municipalities in the country to have access to the contact and registry information of prospect foreign parents, which should facilitate adoptions. Currently, interested adults must reach out to adoption agencies to get registered in the CNA.

“International adoption is a valuable option for family replacement. It opens a safe, lawful and interesting possibility to prevent children remain without shelter. The truth is that, today, a good part of those children reaches the age of eighteen without having lived that fundamental [family] experience,” affirmed adviser Guilherme Calmon in a statement released by the CNJ on Monday.

Brazil has 30,424 people interested in adopting 5,440 kids and adolescents up to the age of seventeen. São Paulo state has the largest number of children registered in the adoption database with 1,341, followed by Rio Grande do Sul with 702. The number of kids left without adoptive parents increases with age, as statistics show most prospect parents express interest in infants.

According to the CNA, there are only eight children under the age of one looking for a family, while there are 628 16-year-old teenagers in the database at the moment. The CNJ hopes the new measure will “increase the number of adoptions of children and youth whose profile does not fit those of Brazilian prospect parents.”

Brazil Eases Child Adoption for Foreigners, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
The CNJ is a public institution that seeks to improve Brazil’s legal system, photo by Sandra Fado/Agência CNJ.

Despite media coverage of growing adoptions from China and well-documented adoptions by actresses and singers such as Angelina Jolie and Madonna, numbers show that international adoptions have dropped almost fifty percent since 2004. Statistics from the U.S. State Department show that the number of children adopted by U.S.-based parents, the top destination country for adopted children, diminished to 8,668 in 2012 after reaching an all-time high in 2004.

Experts say adoption agencies that cater to international would-be parents are facing increased regulation, bureaucracy and paperwork meant to slow down adoptions in popular “sending” countries like Russia and China, and facing delays and slowdowns in countries where there is more interest, such as Ethiopia. Demand for children from foreign countries has not dropped, but regulation has.

Brazil is hoping a simplified system will help older children find homes. The President of the Adoption Commission of the Brazilian Institute of Family Rights (IBDF), Silvana do Monte Moreira, told O Globo newspaper that the new approved rule corrects an interpretation mistake in the current law, which had already stipulated that both foreign and Brazilian parents interested in adopting children would appear in the same registry in 2009. States across Brazil, however, set up their own adoption databases after that date, which did not incorporate nationwide registry information.

“Outside of Brazil, primarily in Europe, there is a culture of adopting older orphans. These are countries that went through wars, catastrophes and for that reason have a larger number of orphans. That will really help diminish adoption lines. In Brazil, the culture of adoption is geared towards newborns, even though that has changed a bit in the last few years,” Moreira said adding that Brazil’s system’s protects the “safety and well-being of children.”


  1. This is a welcome change from the previous policy, which for years was “we don’t export children”. Rational heads have prevailed.
    Many Brazilians, of course, will continue the usual “jeitinho” practice, assisted by the agencies and conniving officials, of adopting babies but falsifying the birth certificates to list the adoptive mother as the birth mother. Foreigners, of course, dare not try that because when they go to their consulates to try to get passports, the consulates always investigate parentage.

  2. Am a mom of 2 kids of my own..My daughter is 23 my son is 18..Never had an adopted kid bfore but love is not for only if u carry a baby in your womb for 9 mths..I will love to care and love another human as if she was my very own flesh and blood..I will love to adoot a baby from your country..He/she will have a loving home..Am in st.vincent and the Grenadines..Do hope i hear from you soon

  3. Hello I would love to adopt one of your older kids I am aware that the younger ones are the first to get placed. Each child deserves a loving trusting family to grow up with and I would love to open my arms and doors to a beautiful person and to have that amazing opportunity of so much love and joy. I have a 5 year old son of my own whom we love so much and want to share that love with another kids
    Thank you so much for taking the time in reading my email
    Ashanti chemolli

  4. Good Luck everyone. Brazil and the USA are both awful cumbersome and bureaucratic messes when it comes to adoption. We have been trying to adopt my wives nephew for twp years and there is still no end in sight. Both countries refuse to cooperate with each other, refuse to follow each others laws and there is no room for give and take.

  5. i would like to know how to start the process of adopting a mixed race child from brazil. most of the info i find is for the usa but we live in scotland.


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